Although many of the NBA‘s marquee players are not playing in this summer’s FIBA World Cup tournament, there is still plenty of star power putting on a show in Spain. Two players who have looked impressive over the course of the tournament so far are Derrick Rose and Pau Gasol of the Chicago Bulls.
In Rose’s case, it’s impressive just to see him producing on the court again. Since the end of the 2012 regular season, Rose has had both knees surgically repaired and has played in a total of 10 games for the Bulls. Although many thought that Rose was risking injury playing for the Team USA this summer, his performance so far proves he made the correct decision. After today’s contest against Ukraine, Rose competed in this third game over three days. Sure, he isn’t playing extended minutes and certainly isn’t being asked to carry the scoring load, but the mere fact that he is healthy and competing on the court is impressive enough for Bulls fans.
Gasol, on the other hand, is dominating right now for the Spaniards. At age 34, Gasol is averaging 21.5 PPG and six rebounds for Spain who have yet to lose a game in the tournament. His international numbers are the highest he has averaged since the 2006 World Championships. His offensive performance alongside his brother Marc Gasol bodes well for the Bulls moving forward.
The Bulls should be ecstatic about the play of their two stars this summer. With Rose’s continual improvement and Gasol’s dominance offensively in FIBA competition, this Bulls team is going to be a much improved unit offensively and the best they have been under coach Tom Thibodeau. Gasol has shown his effectiveness playing at both the elbow and on the block throughout the tournament, which will benefit the Bulls greatly when he is paired alongside both Taj Gibson and Joakim Noah.
Overall, the performances of two of the Bulls’ biggest names can only excite the Chicago organization and its fans. Expectations are already high in the Windy City for this team, but with what Gasol and Rose have shown over the past few weeks in international play, those expectations could very well be met.